Cashman Center bookings dwindle

Every time Debra Hansen hears of a plan to raze and replace Cashman Center, she hopes it doesn’t happen.

She has staged her annual Bridal Spectacular Expo at the downtown meeting and convention venue every year except one since 1991, and she doesn’t even comparison shop despite the proliferation of competitors in recent years.

“I don’t know why I would want to go anywhere else,” Hansen said.

Unfortunately for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which operates and subsidizes Cashman under a lease with the city, the number of people and groups sharing her devotion has been shrinking for years. During the authority’s fiscal year ended June 30, Cashman hosted 139 events, half the total from two years ago and one of the lowest in its 27-year existence, according to the authority’s annual report.

Part of the decline stemmed from the U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships, which tied up Cashman for more than seven months and forced regulars to go elsewhere. The slumping economy also took its toll on the locals-oriented events that have been Cashman’s mainstay.

“Like every entity in Las Vegas, Cashman has felt the effects of recession,” said Terry Jicinsky, the authority’s senior vice president of operations.

At the same time, new meeting space has come on line, and locals casinos, such as South Point and The Orleans, have more aggressively pursued the smaller events market.

Calanit Atia, owner of event planner A to Z Events, said the added competition has pushed Cashman into the shadows.

“It’s a great place to have locals events,” she said. “But there is just too much high-end space for conventions or corporate meetings to go there.”

The Cashman complex covers 55 acres, most of it the minor-league baseball park used almost exclusively by the Las Vegas 51s, and 2,500 spaces of surface parking. The indoors includes 12 meeting rooms, 98,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 1,900-seat theater. Jicinsky expects that at least some of the clients that use the theater to migrate to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts when it opens next year.

Still, he added, “I think as we see the recession in the rearview mirror, we will get more and more events.”

A rate increase instituted early this year, ranging from 6.6 percent to 25 percent depending on the room and audience, helped raise fiscal 2010 revenues to $1.5 million. However, this marked only the third time in the past decade that annual revenue has run lower than $1.8 million, including the fiscal 2002 marred by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Even with higher prices, Cashman is still Hansen’s first choice.

“Many other places are not interested in small consumer shows, so they won’t book more than three months ahead if they have availability,” she said. “We need to book two years out.”

Casinos shun them and other locals shows because attendees will often just come and go, not stopping to eat, drink or gamble.

In 2009, she had to move the bridal expo to the World Market Center due to the bowling contest and had to swallow a tripling of the rent.

Besides being the right size for his quarterly Crossroads of the West Gun Show, Robert Templeton has gone to Cashman for five years because he doesn’t have to guarantee 300 to 400 room bookings to get the exhibit floor, as he said often happens with Strip properties.

During the bowling tournament, he shifted to the Tropicana.

“It was only half the size of what we wanted,” he said, for attendance that usually runs 6,000 to 8,000. “It was OK, but not as profitable for us as Cashman.”

Half of Cashman’s clients come from nonprofits, government agencies, unions or community groups, some of them entitled to 25 or 50 percent discounts from the listed rates. This has brought in events such as dance contests, the Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show and the All in Bully Bash bulldog show.

Cashman opened in 1983 as a place where Fremont Street properties could book group events. But Jicinsky said it became apparent that hotels wanted to keep the business in-house.

Later, it stayed active as an overflow site for meetings and conventions, but that need disappeared early in the decade as the Las Vegas Convention Center expanded.

Bookings plunged by more than half in 2004, to 217 from 479 in 2003, when the authority quit counting in-house meetings. As the economy boomed, events crested at 277 in 2008, but have since fallen by half again. In the past three years, Cashman has hosted only three events classified as conventions.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

Business
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Town Square developer Jim Stuart building again in Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ real estate bubble took developers on a wild ride, something Jim Stuart knows all too well. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Salon opens at Veterans Village
T.H.E. Salon, owned by Nicole Christie, celebrated their opening at the Veterans Village with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Southwest Airlines considering Las Vegas-Hawaii flights
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says the airline is "very focused" on Hawaii. Hawaiians have a strong presence in Las Vegas.The city’s unofficial status is “Hawaii’s ninth island.” In 2018, at least 2,958 people from Hawaii moved to Nevada. Of those, 88.7 percent moved into Clark County, according to driver license surrender data. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 310,249 people came to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2018.
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day. About 1.2 million Nevadans are expected to celebrate this year, a 5 percent drop from 2018. A growing number of people consider Valentine’s Day over-commercialized. Others weren’t interested in the holiday or had nobody to celebrate with. But spending is expected to rise. Those who do celebrate are buying for more people. The average American is expected to spend about $162 this year for Valentine’s Day, a 57 percent jump from a decade prior. Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights at NRF
Foreclosures of mansions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas was ground zero for America's foreclosure crisis after the housing bubble burst. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Helfenbein talks about the impact of tariffs on the clothing industry
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Air flight attendants learn how to handle a water landing
Field instructor Ashleigh Markel talks about training prospective flight attendants for Allegiant Air getting live training with a raft for a water landing at the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex in Henderson on Monday. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery talks about Las Vegas return
Michael Feighery, CEO of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, discusses the restaurant's upcoming return to the Las Vegas Strip.
Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
Developer Eric Cohen discusses his current building project at the Hughes Center office park in Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stratosphere to rebrand to The STRAT
The Stratosphere, a 1,150-foot-tall property in Las Vegas will be renamed The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod.
Local designers’ picks for the Las Vegas Market
The trends that local interior designers are noticing at the Las Vegas Market this year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trends in bath products at Las Vegas Market
Camille Herd, the showroom manager for European Bath Kitchen Tile & Stone, talks about the popularity of free-standing bath tubs. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Kitchen trends at Las Vegas Winter Market
Las Vegas Winter Market displayed kitchen trends that mirror common dining accessories at Strip eateries. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Emerging trends in gifts at Las Vegas Market
Julie Smith Vincenti, curator for the First Look showroom tour on gifts and lifestyle, talks about the emerging trends in those categories for this season. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Las Vegas house prices are rising
Southern Nevada home prices were up 12 percent year-over-year in November.
Caesars Republic Scottsdale
Caesars Entertainment Corp. is building its first non-gaming hotel in the United States in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Caesars Entertainment Corp.)
Interior designer Mikel Welch talks about trends for Las Vegas Market
Interior designer Mikel Welch, who also is the on-camera designer for TLC’s Trading Spaces, discusses the trends he sees for the 2019 Las Vegas Winter Market. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
SHOT Show 2019: MEGGITT Virtual Training
MEGGIT showcases its virtual training system at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.
MGM delivers 700 meals to TSA workers at McCarran
Chefs at Garde Manger at Mandalay Bay provided 700 meals to federal employees who are affected by the government shutdown. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
SHOT Show 2019: A "nonsemi-automatic” weapon
Brandon Dunham of Nevada-based Franklin Armory show off the company’s new rifle prototype it calls a “nonsemi-automatic” weapon. The gun does not use a gas system to fire.
Las Vegas-based concrete repair company knows how to beat the heat
ART Concrete Solutions, a Las Vegas concrete-repair firm, addresses the challenges of construction in the extreme heat and sun of Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas based company brings color to concrete in the desert heat
Semco Modern Seamless Surface, a Las Vegas surface engineering company, knows how to put color in concrete construction in the Vegas heat. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing